The presence of antiidiotypic antibodies (ab-2) to sperm was investigated in the sera of fertile, infertile, and virgin women using sperm-specific anti-FA-1 monoclonal antibody Fab'.ab-2 were detected in 71% (17/24) of sera from fertile women and in none (0/12) of the sera from virgin females by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Western blot procedure, and immunoprecipitation procedure. Sera from infertile women that had antisperm antibodies showed a minimal presence of ab-2, with only three sera (13%, 3/23) demonstrating the presence of low levels of ab-2. The ab-2 present in fertile women were capable of neutralizing the fertilization-inhibitory activity of anti-FA-1 antibody in a concentration-dependent manner in a human sperm penetration assay (SPA) of zona-free hamster oocytes. ab-2 were also capable of inhibiting the binding of antisperm antibodies to the sperm surface as determined by the immunobead binding technique. This is the first report demonstrating the presence of ab-2 in the sera of fertile women that are capable of neutralizing antisperm antibodies present in sera of infertile women. These findings suggest that the inability to detect antisperm antibody activity in the sera of fertile women may be due to higher levels of ab-2 present in these sera than levels found in sera of infertile women, although both groups may be producing antisperm antibody response after sexual exposure to sperm.
R K Naz, K Ahmad, A C Menge